WTFW: Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror (1981)

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

WTFW: Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror (1981)

Brought to you once again by suggestion via Rob Morganbesser.  Someone really likes the Italian zombie movies.

Burial Ground: Nights of Terror (original title: Le Notti del terrore, also known as The Zombie Dead) is an Italian grindhouse zombie movie directed by Andrea Bianchi.  The film has achieved cult status, primarily due to its low production values and the casting of an adult dwarf playing a child in an incestuous relationship with his mother.  It is one of several films released under the alternate title of Zombie 3.

Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror (1981)

  • Directed: Andrea Bianchi
  • Produced: Gabriele Crisanti
  • Written: Piero Regnoli
  • Starring: Karin Well, Gianluigi Chirizzi, Simone Mattioli, Antonella Antinori, Roberto Caporali, Claudio Zucchet, Peter Bark, Anna Valente, Raimondo Barbieri, Mariangela Giordano
  • Music:
    • Elsio Mancuso  
    • Berto Pisano
  • Cinematography: Gianfranco Maioletti
  • Studio: Esteban Cinematografica
  • Distributed:
    • Film Concept Group  
    • Vestron Video 
    • Avid Video 
    • Shriek Show 
    • Media Blasters  
    • Live Video
  • Rated: NR
  • Release Date: 27 February 1986
  • Running Time: 85 minutes
  • Country: Italy
  • Language: Italian (English dub)
Another entry in a nearly endless string of Italian variants on George A. Romero's zombie films, Andrea Bianchi's Le Notti del Terrore borrows its scenario most heavily from Night of the Living Dead.  The story opens with a loony professor unsealing a crypt and releasing voodoo-animated corpses, who immediately make up for lost time by devouring him and every other living human within reach.  They eventually gate-crash the professor's posh country villa where a collection of painfully annoying upper-crust types are throwing a party... and since these jet-setters are also phenomenally stupid, the shambling zombies are soon enjoying a human buffet. 

I feel the same way after seeing this
Virtually plotless, this silly little gore-fest may hold a certain perverse appeal for those looking forward to seeing these obnoxious characters eaten alive (at least the zombies have the good sense to keep silent).  The most outrageous scene comes when a young mother is so overjoyed to see her weird, huge-headed son (played by an adult dwarf) back from the dead that she immediately decides to breast-feed him!  Peter Bark was cast in the role of 12 year old Michael, when at the time of filming, he was approximately 26 years old.

Paper Maché Zombies!
Burial Ground: Nights of Terror was given a belated limited release theatrically in the United States by the Film Concept Group in 1986.  It was subsequently released on VHS by Vestron Video under the alternate title of Burial Ground.

The film was released on DVD June 11, 2002 by Shriek Show.  It is available separately or in a triple feature package Zombie Pack, Vol. 2.   The Zombie Pack, Vol. 2 includes Burial Ground: Nights of Terror, Flesheater, and Zombie Holocaust.  Shriek Show released it on Blu-ray for the first time on August 23, 2011. 

During the 1980s, this film was difficult to get a hold of in the UK in its uncut form due to the stricter rules regarding the Video Recordings Act of 1984.  It was instead released on video in a heavily censored form under the title Nights Of Terror, having 10 minutes and 6 seconds pre-cut by the distributors and then it was cut 3 minutes and 11 seconds by the BBFC.  As of 2004 the film has been available uncut in the UK under the title The Zombie Dead.

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